ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 27 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 5, 2023


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

     Franklin County's arts and music gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. There are also booked and acoustic Open Mic Nights that feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.

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      The "perfect storm tripledemic" continues growing around the country. "Activity is now high in Vermont."
      Vermont's COVID paid leave grant program portal is open. Grant Applications for Quarter 1 are being accepted through January 15.
      Vaccines for COVID-19 and the flu are available free at 27 Fisher Pond Road in St. Albans today from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Located next to Northwestern Medical Center, it is the former state motor vehicle office. Starting in January, walk-in clinics will transition to more limited hours and will close by January 31. Click here for a list of the daily clinics (follow the link to open "Click here for all COVID-19 and Flu walk-in vaccine clinics").
      All Americans can order four more free COVID-19 tests through the mail as part of the federal plan to deal with an increase in COVID cases sparked by indoor holiday gatherings. The tests can be ordered on and began to ship this week.
      Before the holidays, "activity was still low in Vermont, but it is now high, and we’re seeing lots of people go to urgent care and emergency departments for flu-like illness," Vermont Department of Health epidemiologist Patsy Kelso told WPTZ. The new Omicron subvariant XBB is now the dominant strain in Vermont, as well as Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, accounting for about 52.6% of all cases.
      The Vermont Department of Health found 362 cases last week amid a national rise in cases and hospitalizations. COVID-19 infections remain at a "Low" level but are climbing quickly.
      Vermont's new overall COVID-19 cases rose to 444 statewide last week, up from 335 the week before. Franklin County's case load stood at 62 cases in the 14 days ending Saturday. Ten Vermonters died in the past two weeks for a pandemic total of 791. Franklin County has reported 11,401 cases to date. The county has lost 75 residents to the disease overall, including three in the last two weeks of December.
      Because Vermont relies on self reporting, the number of actual cases is higher than the Department of Health finds. You can report self-test results by following instructions on your test kit to automatically provide your results to your local health department or with the Vermont COVID-19 Self-Test Result Reporting Form. If you test positive, stay home and isolate for five days or longer. You can leave your home on day six if your symptoms have improved and you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers.
      Take a free at-home test if you begin having symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or at least five days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, or if you plan a get together with people who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their vaccines. Need other tests? also has for links for at-home tests at retailers and pharmacies, insurance reimbursement for at-home tests, and the 20,000 no-cost antigen and PCR COVID-19 test sites nationwide. Most major chains including Walgreens and Price Chopper locally should have free N95 masks.
      People keep getting sick, mostly because they aren't taking precautions. Original COVID-19 vaccinations remain below the level of herd immunity, and even fewer have gotten boosters. Only about 60% of adults and eligible children have even received a flu vaccine.
      Whether you have contracted and recovered from this coronavirus or haven't yet received a booster or even if you have done it all, immunity has waned for many of us. That lowered resistance leads to infections and increased transmission of the virus. To date, only 28% of eligible Vermonters age 5 and over have gotten the bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine. Here's my own advice. Get the COVID shot(s), get the booster(s), and take precautions, particularly if you are inside with other people--that still means wearing a mask indoors.
      No vaccine is 100% foolproof. Wash your hands. Keep wearing an N95 mask where you can't control the airflow around you until we reach the same herd immunity we have for smallpox and once had but lost for measles because so many parents refused to vaccinate their kids. Bonus: it will also help protect you from pollen, summer colds, and the winter flu.
      Call 855.722.7878 or visit for more info about the first or second dose and for booster shots of the vaccine. You can also walk-in at Costco, CVS, Hannaford, Price Chopper/Market 32, Rite Aid, Shaw's, Walgreens, or Walmart, or get an appointment with CVS, Kinney Drugs, Walgreens, or UVMMC Outpatient Pharmacies. Providers and pharmacies must give vaccines at no cost to the patient.


ST. ALBANS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on mixed metals artist LuAnn Bellis, possibilist and textile artist Chris Bessette, landscape painter Kati Christoffel, and landscape and animal painter Trish Vaillancourt with a live reception at the gallery this evening at 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. A.I.R. will continue celebrating the monthly Featured Artists online and on Facebook.
      The art and fine craft cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats and more by 40 Franklin County and surrounding area artists. It is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors. The gallery on South Main Street is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.


ST. ALBANS--The Saint Albans Museum has paused all public-facing activities through February 1 to focus fully on ongoing work in the basement storage areas.


MORRISVILLE--River Arts offers two new workshop series to start the New Year.
      The January Open Studio Figure Drawing will be held this afternoon at 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. as a community facilitated group with no formal instructor present. This month will be a clothed session with quick two minute poses, five minute poses, 20 minute poses, and a long pose at the end. The cost is $15 with pre-registration preferred. Click here to register and for more info.
      Textile artist Natalie Carr begins Sewing Outside the Lines on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Classes will continue each Wednesday through February 15. Participants will explore a process-based sewing class to create one-of-a-kind works of art. The cost is $150 with pre-registration required. Click here to register and for more info.

MILTON--Social Sundays continue at the Milton Artists' Guild Art Center with free weekly art classes for families at MAG on the first Sunday of each month at 1 p.m. Each month offers a different project. Stay for 30 minutes or the whole two hours. Admission is free. Click here for more info.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council will hold its Annual Meeting in person at the Swanton Free Public Library on Monday at 6 p.m. Meetings are held on the first Monday of each month but the January meeting was delayed by the holiday. Find the SAC on Facebook for the agenda and more info.


     Here's my own plan with over one million U.S. deaths and as our precautions wane. I got the COVID and Flu shots, and the booster, and I take precautions because no vaccine is 100% foolproof. I wash my hands. I double mask with a genuine N95 mask (not a bandana and not a "chin strap") and a surgical mask where ever I can't control the airflow. It isn't much of a burden and it mostly protects me from all the people without masks I see in stores and concerts.

      Vermont Public has ended its broadcast of the local music show, Safe & Sound, after 129 episodes. The radio show focused on Vermonters making music during the pandemic. Now that most COVID restrictions have been lifted and Vermont musicians' calendars are filling with gigs and performance dates, your local restaurant, art gallery, and watering hole are a great places to hear live music in person. We list many of them right here. All that said, this is a very quiet week in live Franklin County entertainment.

Thursday-Saturday, January 5-7
ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap starts a New Year of music with Mitch Terriciano tonight at 6 p.m. two shows Friday night, Kyle Stevens at 5 p.m., and then the Free Range Band returns for late night music starting at 9 p.m., plus two more shows live on Saturday night with Jerborn Jerborning at 5 p.m., and Eleven starting their No Rest for the Wicked Winter Tour at 9 p.m. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info. Click here to reserve a table.

Friday, January 6
COLCHESTER--Ryan Sweezy plays acoustic-based pop/rock in the live and free Friday Music Night at the Spanked Puppy on Friday at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

SHELDON--The Abbey Friday Night Music Series continues in the Pub on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

SOUTH HERO--The Buck Hollers play the Winter Wine Down Friday at Snow Farm Vineyard on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Food will be catered, call Kristen (802.922.8074) for all pre-order food requests. The Tasting Room is closed for regular hours until Friday. Click here for more info.

Friday-Saturday, January 6-7
ST. ALBANS--Twiggs often has shows on Friday and Saturday nights. Music starts about 6:30 p.m. Call 802.524.1405 or find them on Facebook for more info. Click here to book a reservation or to visit the art on the walls.

Saturday, January 7
ST. ALBANS--14th Star presents the Rough Suspects for a night of live "acoustic rock, blues, and drunken country" in The Room on Saturday at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.


      What a long, strange [year] it's been, Here's where I get to write up the arts and books and dance and music and theatrical hopes and guesses for 2023. We all know how hard it is to plan these days but I had hopes that there would be a socially distanced modern dance recital involving honey badgers but maybe not that. (Catamounts were so last year. Honey badgers are "near threatened" and bloody threatening. Social distancing is still recommended. Don't try this at home!) In past years, we've had hundreds of concerts, exhibits, recitals, and shows.
      This year's "looking forward columns" are spread over two weeks. We can hope to return to 300 concerts, exhibits, recitals, and shows from more than 40 organizations but, again, there are so many uncertainties that many of the plans we list may change. This week, we have info about upcoming Arts Council and Opera House events. We will cover the Four Franklin County Festivals and our Town Bands plus Other Major Presenter plans next week.
      Happy New Year!


      Summer Sounds has grown up and now stands on its own. The All Arts Council's three primary goals haven't changed: continuing our popular programs, continuing our support of artists and other presenters, and continuing our partnerships. The AAC may also host several one-time shows. Email the All Arts Council if you would like to suggest or host a show.
      AAC will hold exhibits for artists in all media and pays actual cash money for bands and solo performers. If you are one or know one, Email the All Arts Council .

      Every Franklin County presenter hopes for a rebuilding year so we all need money and volunteers. From All Arts to Young Tradition-Vermont, please remember that volunteers and a permanent base make up the "back room" that each of these groups needs to continue the programming you enjoy.
      If you want to write this column, plan an event, or do anything else in the arts, email the All Arts Council . The AAC also needs volunteers to provide the marketing and technical help, have resources, and to host meetings and exhibits, and concerts and workshops for artists, other groups, and local presenters.
      If you have an advertising budget to spend or space to lend for the year, email the All Arts Council . If you want to run an arts program, Email the All Arts Council faster.

      Burlington is outside of our normal catchment area but several Franklin County artists are BCA members and their programming is of interest to us.
      BCA will offer exhibitions, events, classes, home studio, and artist resources throughout the year including the multi-part, virtual Architecture + Design Film Series, an artist talk with Valerie Hird, and the January Family Art Saturday. Click here for more info

      Island Arts has brought arts activities to Grand Isle County for over 30 years. This year, they should again have concerts, theater performances, and craft fairs for children and adults including classes, Paint and Sip events, and more for all ages in person or on Zoom from May through September. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.

      St. Albans Community Arts is looking for active volunteers to recreate a vibrant arts scene in the city. Without volunteers it will just drift apart. The Franklin County Quilters Guild 22nd annual quilt show opens April 1. There may be art walks, music, the Festival of Trees, the Mayor's Photo Contest, and more. Find them on Facebook for more info.

      The Swanton Arts Council has been rethinking its programs. They will continue Virtual Art Journaling on the second Wednesday. At the Board Meeting Monday, they installed the 2022 Board Members and discussed the emerging Artist Award and Youth Art Show, Free Art Programming, Project LEAD, the Festival of Trees, Small Business Saturday, Artist Showcase, the Swanton Town Plan and more. Paint on Slate is coming up. Art Journaling, the Knitting Circle, a new Crochet Group, and the Writers' Group all continue to meet monthly. Click here for more info.


      The A.I.R. has an in-person gallery and online celebrations of the artists. The gallery on South Main Street is open Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.

      The Bryan Gallery is eager to start 2023. The Gallery is closed until March for winter break but appointments are available. Call (802.644.5100) to schedule or Click here for more info.

      MAG has an online shop, in-person gallery, and online workshops for every artist. The MAG online shopis open 24/7 and the gallery itself is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. MAG's Annual Letter of Appeal is online now. Find them on Facebook for more info.

      Jonathan Brigham is NVAA president. The NVAA board will vote in officers and board members and to discuss the 2023 calendar this month. They may host only one show again this year, the June Juried show at Visions of Vermont Gallery in Jeffersonville. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.

      The Morrisville art center offers "Arts for Everyone" with exhibits in the Folley Hall and Copley Studio Galleries and off-campus plus an ambitious schedule of programs including figure drawing (tonight), sewing and felting, soft sculptures, upcycled journals and mixed media, wheel classes, and much more. There will be monthly Sip N' Slurry and Paint and Sip plus Meditate & Create evenings and look for a fresh collaboration between Morrisville Alliance for Culture and Commerce and River Arts for more Music on Main this summer. Click here for more info..


      State downtowns and village center tax credits will offset the costs of four projects in Franklin County.
      The historic Soule House in Fairfield will be repurposed as an events venue and guest lodging. Tax credits will support mandated code upgrades and exterior repairs to the historic woodwork.
      The St. Albans Museum will receive a state tax credit award to support critical exterior repairs to this significant historic landmark.
      The U.S. Customs House and Post Office in St. Albans has been vacant for over 25 years but the City bought the property to create a mixed-use facility, with eight new units of housing on the building's upper floors and commercial space on the main level.
      The renovation of the 1901 Champlain Theater--the former Prouty Building--in Swanton's village center will include space for three new commercial tenants.


      The Opera House at Enosburg Falls offers a mix of major productions, touring, and community events from vocalists in concert, musicals, and theatricals, to talent shows and art shows. Productions are volunteer-based with small honorariums granted based on the proceeds of the show. The 300 seat historic center of the performing arts serves 14 local communities and more. Their new season begins in March.
      The House wants to know what you want to see in 2023 and needs volunteers. Email to volunteer or get involved and click here or find them on Facebook for more info.


      The Vermont Humanities Council continues Vermont Reads continues. The statewide, one-book plan will program around The Most Costly Journey through June.
      County-wide, our public Libraries have a slew of plans including readings, lunchtime concerts, art shows, and kids' performers including the 18th year of Vermont Reads.
      ArtBits features weekly links to library events in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf on the AAC site at .

Good News!

There are so many events around the region that we miss some of them.
Be sure to check these calendars for what's happening near you ...
All Arts Council of Franklin County
Cambridge Arts Council
Franklin County Regional
Chamber of Commerce
Island Arts
St Albans Community Arts
Swanton Arts Council
Young Tradition Vermont


Links to the Summer Music series in Franklin County
Summer Sounds
Summer Music at Grace
Downtown Summer Concert Series
Music at the Meeting House
Citizens Concert Band
Enosburg Town Band


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

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